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The automatic guppy fry sorter!


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So, I heard @Cory mention this concept in a video talk he gave about guppies to the Youngstown Aquarium Club. I was intrigued but could find almost no information about it. In the meantime I had guppies breeding in a 10 gallon with a matten filter in one end, and I would dip net out the fry as they showed up as fast as I could and transport them to a new tank. One day when I left the power off, 2 fry swam the wrong way down the tube and I found them happily living and growing behind the foam. then I found some photos on Instagram of a similar tank making use of this concept, and while mine is less beautiful, hopefully it will be more practically helpful.

The concept is a divided tank, with adult guppies breeding in one end, with an airlift crossing a divider, and delivering fry to a separate compartment. This is a great way to use a matten filter. 

Here is the adult side, containing guppy parents, epiphyte plants, and adult red neocaridina shrimp (hiding in the rocks, you have to trust me):


Here is the fry side, with more shrimp, and a bunch of newly planted stem plants: 


Here is the whole thing:

Mechanics: Moms tend to hide in the plants to give birth, and newly born baby guppies naturally make a run for the rocks and plant cover, which is built around this air lift tube, available on amazon from aquaneat:


Note the small holes on the intake, which admit fry but not adults. Air supplied by an airline creates lift, and draws the guppy fry up and out, where they are delivered to a predation free zone. I used the matten sponge from the 10g in this new 20g high, and made a frame out of pvc. Two things I learned as soon as I filled the tank the first time was that the matten filter and frame, while well fitted, want to float, and when a 20 high is full the glass bows just slightly, loosening the fit. I used black silicone to attach the frame to the glass. I need to clean up the edges a bit, but over all I am happy... And it works! 



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  • 1 month later...


Now that I have had this running for a little over a month I can say that I do not achieve anywhere near 100% recovery.

I do get a steady influx of new fry. For the casual hobbyist who wants to prevent unrestrained cross breeding, this is near perfect.

I allow fry to grow rapidly in the baby chamber where I feed heavily until they can be sexed, then I separate fry to sorted tanks for the final grow out. I get enough fry to have fun with, without being overwhelmed. This would work even better if they were a single strain I suspect. 

Once I have identified new breeding candidates, I can add them to the parent chamber and the cycle continues. This set up is directly next to my home office desk where I can keep a close eye on the action.

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